Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

5 Sayings from the Desert Mothers on how to deal with adversity

SAINT PAULA,DESERT MOTHER,ASCETIC

Ken Ward | CC BY 2.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/22/18

These holy women show us what to do in difficult situations.

While they are often forgotten by history, there were many women who followed the example of St. Anthony the Abbot in the 4th century. They freely chose the ascetic life and spent their days in solitude and prayer in the Egyptian desert.

The Desert Mothers, as they are often called, had a wealth of spiritual wisdom that they passed on to their disciples and that was eventually compiled into a collection called Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Here is brief selection of five sayings from these heroic and holy women on how to deal with adversity.

Amma Syncletica said, “Many are the wiles ofthe devil. If he is not able to disturb the soul by means of poverty, he suggests riches as an attraction. If he has not won the victory by insults and disgrace, he suggests praise and glory. Overcome by health, he makes the body ill. Not having been able to seduce it through pleasures, he tries to overthrow it by involuntary sufferings. He joins to this, very severe illness, to disturb the faint-hearted in their love of God … Rejoice that God visits you and keep this blessed saying on your lips: ‘The Lord has chastened me sorely but he has not given me over unto death.’ (Ps. 118.18) … By this share of wretchedness you will be made perfect.”Amma Syncletica said, “You were iron, but fire has burnt the rust off you. If you are righteous and fall ill, you will go from strength to strength. Are you gold? You will pass through fire purged. Have you been given a thorn in the flesh? (2 Cor. 12.1) Exult, and see who else was treated like that; it is an honor to have the same sufferings as Paul.”She also said, “Imitate the publican, and you will not be condemned with the Pharisee. Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water.”Amma Theodora asked Archbishop Theophilus about some words of the apostle saying, “What does this mean, ‘Knowing how to profit by circumstances’?” (Col. 4, 5) He said to her, “This saying shows us how to profit at all times. For example, is it a time of excess for you? By humility and patience buy up the time of excess, and draw profit from it. Is it the time of shame? Buy it up by means of resignation and win it. So everything that goes against us can, if we wish, become profitable to us.”Amma Theodora also said, “There was a monk, who, because of the great number of his temptations said, ‘I will go away from here.’ As he was putting on his sandals, he saw another man who was also putting on his sandals and this other monk said to him, ‘Is it on my account that you are going away? Because I go before you wherever you are going.'”


DESERT MOTHERS,ST PAULA,EUSTOCHIUM

Read more:
5 Sayings from the Desert Mothers to help revive your spiritual life

Tags:
EgyptSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
3
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
4
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
5
JEDZENIE
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
6
Zelda Caldwell
German women’s gymnastics teams modest dress protests sport’s ...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.